It was that time of the year again when you settled into your couch post-iftar, turned on the box and decided whether to watch the commercials or not. So here is a rundown of this year’s Ramzan campaigns; those that grabbed us, the ones that caused us to tune out and those that well and truly brought on the post-iftar nap.
Surf Excel: #EesarEkIbadat
Once again Surf Excel tugged at the heartstrings by tying in their winning Daagh Toh Ache Hotey Hain campaign with the Ramzan spirit. Little Salim saves and carries his mother’s dua as if it were a tangible thing. This holds your attention because you really don’t know what’s coming as our little champion braves the obstacles in his mohalla, undeterred by the daaghs on his clothes. He heads with purpose to the house of a friend on a wheelchair, still carrying his dua… and passes it to him. If that act of innocence and selflessness didn’t make you tear up, maybe you really are the Tin Man before he met the Wizard of Oz. So strong is the heart tug, that this one even spawned reaction YouTube videos from our BFFs across the border! Awww.
Oppo F11: #CaptureSmilesThisEid
Oppo F11 Pro’s Ramzan/Eid campaign cashed in on the fervour surrounding the TV comedy serial Suno Chanda, by roping in actors Iqra Aziz and Nabeel Zubairi. Singer Umair Jaswal croons in the background and then shows up onscreen to join the extended Ramzan party with Aziz and Zubairi, as the three introduce a gori friend from abroad to the family, the festivities and the night cricket that are part and parcel of Ramzan and Eid in Pakistan. So you have the cool stars and the gori in fancy settings in place. This TVC is memorable only because it stars Aziz who goes around capturing smiles on her Oppo F11. Take out the stars and what you end up with is a bunch of prettified desi vignettes with a gori wandering around, edited with a view to dazzle. Oh, not to forget a decent background score. The campaign achieves the desired result, but is it special? Not enough to make it stand out.
Rooh Afza: Pakistan Mubarak. Ramzan Mubarak.
Sometimes the whole naiki theme in Ramzan ads can begin to grate. And just to clarify before the trolls lose it, naiki itself does not grate. The storyline built around it can and the execution (especially when it is too obvious and clichéd) can leave you feeling like a grumpy old cynic. Rooh Afza’s is one of those ads. Rich boy helps out poor boy to celebrate during the festive season with food, clothes and oh yeah, Rooh Afza. It has been done to death and you can probably replace the product, continue with the theme, make the same ad again next year hoping people will forget this one (because they will) and life will go on… Yawn.
Sunridge Chakki Atta: #BarhengeSaath
Like I said, replace the product and continue with the theme. Sunridge Chakki Atta did just that by replacing the product and continuing with the rich boy poor boy storyline. To their credit, they did add a bit more meat to the story than Rooh Afza did. Yet, two seconds in and you can pretty much predict how this will end, as the house help’s son looks on longingly at the food and clothes of the boy of the house. Sooooo, rich boy helps out poor boy to celebrate during the festive season with food, clothes and oh yeah, Sunridge Chakki Atta roti. Zzzzzzzzzzz.
PS: Do Ramzan ads have to be about children? And do they have to be boys?
Brooke Bond Supreme Tea: #ZaiqaNaikiKa
This campaign gets 10/10 for not giving into peer pressure and using children to execute the naikis. And another 10/10 for not making naikis all about giving away money /food /drink /your product to the poor. On the contrary, the storyline revolves around a middle aged, average Jamshed-looking chaiwala (post chaiwala fever, this has to be specified) who opens his tea shop during the day in Ramzan and wins hearts for his thoughtfulness. Enough to pique the audience’s curiosity and a break from the clutter. However, the ad is a tad weak when it comes to execution. If you blink, you might miss the reason for the chaiwala opening his shop. But Supreme deserves a trophy for at least attempting to break through the clutter.